Sony introduces next-generation PlayStation console

Will include SSD that will significantly reduce loading times, fully backwards-compatible with PS4 and PSVR, more.

Sony has announced the first details of its next-generation PlayStation home console.

In an exclusive Wired story, an interview with Sony and lead system architect, Mark Cerny, goes into a technical deep dive on what to expect from the console, which was confirmed by Sony to not release this year. We're operating on continued naming conventions of the PlayStation consoles and will refer to the in-development console as the PlayStation 5 (PS5) until its official reveal.

Cerny, who returns to his role after taking it up for the development of the PlayStation 4, confirmed the system has been in the works for four years, with a number of studios already working away on games for the system. Sony has also recently upped the deployment of development kits.

PlayStation 5 will feature a third-generation AMD Ryzen CPU, with a custom GPU based off a Radeon Navi. The PS5 will support ray-tracing, as well as 3D audio that’ll support even standard TV speakers. Cerny told Wired that he was disappointed with how little change there was in audio presentation between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, but hoped to show a significant change with the next console.

“As a gamer, it's been a little bit of a frustration that audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4,” said Cerny. “With the next console the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”

PS5 will also be forward facing for 8K when the adoption rate for 8KTVs rises within the next few years.

Sony also confirmed to Wired that PlayStation 5 will still support physical media and not be a download-only system. It will also be fully backwards compatible with not only PlayStation 4 games, but the current PlayStation VR headset. Although nothing was given away in regards to future VR plans, including a next-generation PlayStation VR headset, Cerny said that “VR is very important to us.”

But the biggest facet of the story is how Sony is using storage for PS5, something Cerny said is “the key to the next generation.” Cerny confirmed that PS5 will use a specialized Solid State Drive, but it’s what it could do that could be a massive game changer.

Using a demo of Spider-Man on a PS4 Pro, Cerny showed a section of the game where Spider-Man fast travels from one part of New York to another which takes fifteen seconds to load. But here’s where the kicker comes in: showing a similar demo on the next-gen system, it takes less than a second - eight tenths of a second, to be exact - for it to load into place. Cerny said that with the PS4 version, the camera is at the speed Spidey moves at while web swinging regardless of how much he’s powered up throughout the game, but on the PS5 demo, the speed is compared to that of a fighter jet by Wired.

No services or games besides the Spider-Man demo are detailed and mentioned in the piece, although when asked about Death Stranding from Kojima Productions, Sony reiterated it was still coming to PS4. Cerny’s reaction to the question, per Wired, was a “smile and pregnant pause” that’ll “invite speculation that it will in fact be a two-platform release” ala The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Wii U and Nintendo Switch. What makes the reaction even more interesting is that Cerny is credited as a technical producer for Death Stranding, so he would definitely be in the know on such a thing.

But one other title more than likely in the works for PS5 is a Horizon Zero Dawn sequel by Guerrilla Games. Besides the critical and sales success of the first game that make a second game a forgone conclusion, voice actor Janina Gavankar, who voiced a character in the first game’s DLC expansion The Frozen Wild, was quoted at Star Wars Celebration last week as saying the new project was “incredible, wait until you see the sequel.”

A sequel to last year’s God of War from Sony Santa Monica and Cory Barlog is also said to be in the works for the new system, according to a Reddit comment by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier.

Dropping the first hard details of the next-generation PlayStation in a Wired feature of all places and doing it without a clue of it coming was certainly unexpected (although these are the first hard details, confirmation of a next-gen PlayStation first came in October last year in a Financial Times interview with Sony president and CEO Kenchiro Yoshida).

But with no E3 presence this year, and likely no physical presence at shows until potentially Tokyo Game Show in September, Sony is now officially on a front-facing roll out for next-gen.

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Johnny Cullen is a freelance writer and author from Derry, Northern Ireland who has written for Eurogamer, VG247, Official PlayStation Magazine UK, and so many more since July 2009. Come @ him about The Last of Us, Metal Gear Solid 3, Jonsi and Alex, or the Four Horsewomen of WWE on Twitter @JohnnyCullen.

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